History | September 15, 2020 6:30 am

A Lock of President Abraham Lincoln’s Hair Just Sold for $81,000

Congrats to the proud new owner of a dead man's hair

black and white image of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, blissfully unaware that more than a century after his death, stans would be paying thousands for his hair.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

There’s a lot you could do with a spare $81,000. In fact, the mere idea of having $81,000 of disposable income just burning a hole in my pocket is ultimately so foreign that I can’t really even begin to imagine what I would do under those circumstances. One thing I almost definitely wouldn’t do, however, is spend that $81,000 on a lock of hair from a long-dead former U.S. president.

This is something I do not have in common with the new owner of a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair, who recently purchased the two-inch relic along with a blood-stained telegram about the deceased president’s 1865 assassination. The items sold for $81,250 at auction, according to RR Auction of Boston, exceeding the $75,000 selling price the auction house anticipated, the New York Post reported.

The hair was reportedly removed during the president’s postmortem examination after his assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., and presented to Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, a cousin of Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.

In a 1945 letter, Todd’s son wrote that the lock of hair had remained with the family since Lincoln’s death. It was last sold in 1999, according to the auction house.

“When you are dealing with samples of Lincoln’s hair, provenance is everything — and in this case, we know that this came from a family member who was at the President’s bedside,” Bobby Livingston, RR Auction’s executive vice president, said in a statement.

The hair is affixed to the telegram sent to Todd alerting him of the president’s death.

No information about the buyer has been released, and I’ll admit there’s very little I can even begin to conjecture about the kind of person who would spend $81,000 on a piece of a dead man’s hair, because, once again, that idea is unfathomable to me.

Anyway, congratulations to the new mystery owner of Abraham Lincoln’s hair.

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